Norfolk Christian Football League long-service honour for Derek
The Norfolk Christian Football League long service trophy has been personally presented to one of the league’s founder members, Derek Cate, by Rene Hollinger, widow of league stalwart Sam Hollinger in whose honour the trophy is named. Keith Morris reports.
The award was set up in 2009 by the then chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, John Drake, in memory of Sam Hollinger, long-serving football manager of the Mount Zion and Norwich Family Life Centre football teams and founder of local printing business Hollinger Print.
The trophy has since been awarded to a number of people considered by the NCFL members and committee to have given outstanding, loyal and self-sacrificing service to the League over many years.
Derek recalls playing in the first-ever recorded inter-church football match in Norwich on Boxing Day morning 1967 between Surrey Chapel and South Park Chapel.
This game started off the process towards the formation of a league proper in 1978 following friendly matches between half-a-dozen teams over the intervening ten years.
Derek’s was first involved in the league proper as a player for Meadow Way Chapel. He then became player-manager and was later elected as league chairman, with his son Christopher as league secretary.
Derek is still involved with the league, on its council of reference, which advises on matters which cannot be resolved by team managers or the committee. “As far as I can recall it has only had to meet three times over the last 30 years,” said Derek.
“I was surprised and honoured to receive the trophy, having known Sam for many years. Everybody involved in the league knew Sam.”
After presenting the trophy to Derek, Rene Hollinger, said: “Sam loved his football and watching his boys Mark and Graeme playing for Mount Zion. He would have been very pleased to see this big trophy being passed around in his honour.
“If there are windows in heaven, I am sure that Sam would be having a sneaky peek and a laugh right now.
“I did not like football that much myself, but I did go to support Sam and the boys. I remember one day Mark got injured and I ran on the pitch to see if he was ok. He was so embarrassed and has never lived it down.”
The trophy is inscribed with words from 1 Corinthians 15 v 58: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
The award's first recipient in 2009 was Rob Varley, who set up the League's website in 2005 and who was the League's secretary during a critical time in its development and expansion from 2004 until 2008.
In 2010 it was presented to David Davenport, founder member, player, manager, referee and chairman.
In 2011 the trophy was presented to Mike Culwick, current league chairman, in 2012 it went to youth league founder Tim Stapleford and in 2013 to founder member and former league secretary, Alan Barnes.
Pictured top is Rene Hollinger presenting the NCFL’s Sam Hollinger long service trophy to Derek Cate and, above, a picture of Rene and Sam in front of the trophy.